Bethel pushed me to have a faith of my own, what does that look like?
By Godfrey Mpetey
In my recent column, “Faith of my own” I delivered a scathing message to Christians and Bethel community members alike. The piece stemmed from a rollercoaster church experience. I left the church feeling it had become a fraternity we forcibly pledged to.
When my faith became less about a relationship with Christ and turned into a to-do list, I knew seeking Christ wasn’t my plan.
I took an anthropology course this semester with adjunct professor Shawn Moore. From first appearance, I saw a black man, large dreaded hair with tattoos and painted fingernails. I immediately knew this guy is radical.
Each class, biblical knowledge was thrown as fast as stray bullets. Immediately, I experienced flashbacks of when scripture looked like another language. “How many disciples did Jesus have?” “What does Jesus call for us to do?”
As I drowned within my lack of biblical knowledge, Moore shared a sentiment that cultivated everything I believed in my faith.
“Being a Christ follower is more about what you do versus what you say.”
As his words rattled my core, I’ve realized as Christians, we profess our truths but do we actively seek them out?
As I head into graduate, we leave a bubble saturated with “good” Christian kids who are ready to become salt & light and change the world surrounding us.
But has our experience at Bethel University taught us how to interact with those outside of our bubble?
Upon graduation, I’ve accepted a position at U.S. Bank in downtown Minneapolis. While the transition into the real world excites, I remain filled with anxiety about how my faith walk will lead me as well.
The typical thing to do once you’re at your workplace, your school or church is to find people like you. Again, creating your own bubble. The truth is: are we actively seeking our faith or we conforming to what makes us most comfortable as followers of Christ?
My spiritual gift is being able to communicate with people of all walks. Whether I’m generally interested or not, I engage and respect their time. I think this is something Christ has blessed me with. This is not to mean you should have this same gift as I do.
The idea of creating authentic relationships leads to creating a space to spread the gospel. The critique of that is we often do so demeaningly. We dehumanize people to think if they don’t hold the same faith as ours, they are just lost in the world.
How as followers of Christ do we reconcile that spreading the Gospel isn’t a self-fulfilling action, but something we live each and every day we open our eyes?
I leave Bethel a greater man than I was before, though I understand the university has left me with more questions than can be answered in this bubble.
I guess it’s up to where my faith leads me. I’m ready for what’s to come.